Saturday, September 20, 2014

Subject Updates

After progress reports coming home, I want to share a few important things with you! :)

Reading: The end of the first grading period goal is a DRA of 6-8. (Preferably an 8)  I just finished the DRA testing today, Tuesday, September 16, 2014.  That is why the progress reports are coming home on Wednesday, September 17, 2014.  We will shortly begin guided reading groups to work with your child and others at a similar DRA level.  What does this mean for you?  It is possible to look up books through Scholastic Book Wizard online and get DRA levels and leveled book suggestions.  It is possible that your local library might be able to help with this also.  We will also use this information when finding books in the library from now on.  I do allow them to find one on level book and one free choice book that you can read with them if it isn’t on their level.  Also, I am attaching a comprehension sheet that can be used with any book.  One side is for fiction and the other side is for non-fiction.  Please don’t just read with your child.  Please talk about the book.  This is almost as important as reading.
Writing:  Again, we have been writing a lot.  We are working on getting the letters formed correctly and on the line.  This means that using capital letters should only happen at the start of a sentence OR for a proper noun.  Please encourage your child to use lowercase letters when proper to do so. Punctuation at the end of sentences is also what a first grader should be able to do by the end of the first grading period.
Math: We are learning to do basic addition and subtraction. PLEASE encourage your child to show their work.  At this age it means, draw a model to represent the equation.  It is not enough to simply know the answer.  They have a test coming up the beginning of next week.  They need to know the following vocabulary: sum, addends, and difference. We have been working on this in class.  The homework for the next week will really focus on this!  Again, please be sure that they are modeling their work on the paper and not just using their fingers.  I tell them I cannot take their fingers with me when I look at their work.  Another big thing in math is the realization that much of what is written they CAN read!  Reading plays a huge part in math. Even though we read them together, having the words on the page can sometimes be a stumbling block.
Social Studies: We are working on our character.  How can we fill someone’s bucket and why do we have rules?  The hardest part with this is writing.  If your child is having trouble writing sentences this impacts some of what we do in social studies.  Also listening and hearing what is said is important here too.
Science: We are working on properties and the ways we use the 5 senses when we talk about properties.  We have discussed sink vs float as well as used our senses with sour Skittles and animal crackers.  Writing is a big part of science also.  We have to be able to write our observations down and show what we know.

The biggest thing that I want to share about where we are so far is all of the positive behaviors that I see out of each and every child in the room.  No one is perfect, but this group of kids is one to be proud of!  They are hard workers and want people to know that they care about themselves and others! This is a difficult skill to teach and they already have it.  If I have one big favor from all of you it is to remind them how smart they are regularly!  They often seem to forget this important piece and they are each and every one SO smart! We all bring different talents to the table which makes us our own smart, unique beings.  The self-esteem will help take them a long way in all of their subject areas—along with the work we do every day! 

Thank you for being part of our learning team this year! If you have any questions or need any further information, please let me know!  As always, I post regular updates to the webpage.  If you forget where to look, it is on the cover of your child’s agenda and you can also google:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Playground fun! Help needed!

The students LOVE to go outside and play on the covered court.  However, we don't have any balls or jump ropes to play with.  If you would be willing to send in some basketballs, sidewalk chalk, or jump ropes, that would be fabulous!  The kids would really appreciate it!  (Items can be gently used...)

Important Homework Notes...sent home Friday, 9/19/14

A few IMPORTANT notes about homework:

1.       Homework is a review.  What I send home is what we have already covered each week.  If your child needs much assistance with the homework, please let me know that as they should mostly be able to do this work independently.

2.       Reading, beginning in October, will be done nightly.  There will be a goal of minutes read for the month.  Each month the total minutes will go up.  Without reading nightly, reading cannot improve.  This reading should mostly consist of your child reading to you. If you would like to read to your child that will help their reading too, but please be sure that they are reading to you at least 4 nights a week. Please talk about what is read. Comprehension is KEY to success. Reading isn’t fun if we don’t think about and understand what we read.

3.       I want your child to be able to be a kid.  I want them to play games, run around, and be involved.

4.       If you would like more homework, please have your child keep a reading journal.  Have them write the title, author, and then write about what they read.  It could be a summary, a retelling using beginning, middle, and end or first, then, next, and last as they retell it.  You could have them talk about the setting or the characters.  They could connect to books they have already read and events that have happened in their lives.  The key to this connecting is to talk about specific things that happened in the book and not just talking about the book in general.

5.       There will be spelling words every week.  The tests will be on Fridays. These words need to be not just learned for the test but remembered and used in their writing correctly.

6.       Today, sight word “cards” are coming home.  The ones that are marked are the ones that your child knows.  To know a word they must instantly be able to say the word.  If they have to think about it or sound it out, it is not counted as being “known”. The reason for this is because they are sight words.  They are commonly seen in reading.  If you have to stop to think about each word you see, you cannot focus on understanding what you read.  When your child knows a page or two, send them back in and I will check in with them. (This may take a day or two.) The ones they know instantly, we will put a sticker next to it.  When this whole set of cards is known, we will move on to the next set.  This is the first 100 words.  We need to make it through 300 words this year.  The goal is for this set to be known by the end of September.  That is soon.  Some are going to make it…some will keep working.  We work with these words in class also!

7.       Please let me know if you ever have any questions!  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Please be sure that you are reading with your child at least 4 different nights a week!  Also, please talk about what you have read! :)

Progress Reports and general info about conferences

Progress Reports are coming home Wednesday, September 17, 2014. DRAs got completed today (9/16). There is a note attached to it about where we are in learning so far this year.  Conference times are also on there if you have one scheduled.  I am booked.  If you read this and see your child's progress report and would like to wait until December to come in, I will be giving first priority in December to those parents that I didn't see this time AND those that I have concerns with.  Then I will open the December left over times up to those I saw this time.  As always, if you have any questions, please let me know!

Friday, September 12, 2014

This week ending Sept. 12

This week the kids did an amazing job on their spelling tests!  Nest week's words came home in their homework packet!

On the same note, we get compliments everywhere we go!  The cafeteria ladies can't get over the cleanliness of the tables and floors when they leave as well as the FABULOUS choices they make while they are there.  We were also the recipients of the purple pallet in art for this week by earning the most character points out of all of the younger elementary classes.  WAY TO GO!  We have so much to celebrate as this year gets rolling!  This class is such a joy to be a part of...compassion, friendship, hard work, ... ABOUNDS!  Thank you for sharing them with me every day!

We have been talking and writing about our 5 senses in science.  We have been working on observing while using them.  It is amazing the words they come up with when they apply these skills!

In math we are using models to add.  This is the important part.  It isn't simply adding that is enough.  They need to also be able to SHOW that they know what those numbers are.  Please encourage this.  Fingers are not enough as I cannot see that they understand it.  Also, please encourage them to read as much of the directions and the problems as possible, Many of the students can read most of the words.  They just haven't fully become aware that they can read the words!

In language arts we have been working to get DRAs done (hopefully the beginning of the week)!  We have been reading to self, reading to someone, doing word work, writing, and using the listening center.  They are coming right along.  Reading groups are close in our future.

In social studies this week we reviewed our classroom rules and worked to incorporate our new friend into our routines.  We also talked about heroes and why they are our heroes to observe September 11th.  Their writing is displayed in our room. Stop by and check it out!  They came up with some good ones.  (While writing we are working on telling why and giving details so this supports that work also!)

In writing we have been working on capital letters and punctuation in all sentences.  We have also been working on proper formation of letters on the lines.  While working on this we are also adding details--either to create a picture OR to support our ideas from the text if we are writing about a book.

Please be sure that you are checking the planners nightly!  The conference sign up papers came home Thursday in the planners!  Speaking of conferences I have middle times (like 4:15ish-5:15ish) open if you are interested in coming this round.  If your child is doing well, you do not have to come this round...we have more in December.  Please know that I cannot meet with all parents on this night as there isn't enough time.  We can make other arrangements if needed.  Slots are filling up fast.

Again, these kids are amazing!  Keep up whatever you are doing at home as it is working! :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Hello! Today conference forms came home in the planners today.  If you are interested in a conference please sign up.  If you think all is well and you would like to wait until December's conferences, that is fine too.  Please know that if there is ever an issue, I will be in contact with you.  We are still in the data collecting phase of what we are doing.  As I get it all together, I will be sharing it with you.